Let me be brief. This is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s America. A country filled with opportunity and optimism, don’t let anybody else tell you we are not great. Ever since moving to VA we have regularly attended the Fourth of July naturalization ceremony at Monticello. I am always moved to tears by the ceremony; people from dozens of countries are proud and honored to take the oath of allegiance, to abandon kings and despots for our particular brand of democracy.
I never thought one party had patriotism wrapped up in a bow, all to themselves. I was born into a working-class, Democratic family. We had a picture of FDR hanging in our kitchen, where others in our mostly Catholic neighborhood might have had the Virgin Mary. When my Father died, the Flapper received a Child’s Insurance Benefit check from the government – $19.16 per child, per month. Do you consider that a hand-out or a hand-up? A helping hand? It’s time to pick sides.
Almost $77 dollars to feed and clothe four children in 1949.
The Catholic Church never showed up after the funeral. Never once offered a prayer, even after the Flapper was crippled in that July 4th car accident. In our family’s Year of Living Dangerously, only her friends, my Foster Parents came to help.
But last night at the DNC, a preacher man showed up:
“We are being called like our forefathers and foremothers to be the moral defibrillators of our time,” Barber said. The call brought most of the audience in the convention hall to its feet.
Barber, a preacher who described himself as the son of a preacher there to represent no particular organization, is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., president of the North Carolina NAACP, a member of the organization’s national board, chair of the NAACP’s Legislative Political Action Committee and one of the primary organizers of Moral Mondays.
Moral Mondays are, as The New Yorker magazine described them, a now-regular set of progressive activist vigils held in North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh. There, mostly black civil rights activists from poor coastal communities like Barber and mostly white and wealthy environmentalists from towns like Chapel Hill have joined forces with all kinds of progressive activists, with a constancy that has drawn national attention.
And y’all know how I feel about religion right? I think everybody who’s praying has the ear of One God, if he/she exists. But don’t subvert your religion to run my life, or our country! Ever since a nun told me only Catholics get into heaven, I knew something was fishy. But this was before nuns boarded buses and last night I learned that Rev William Barber is doing God’s work. In a state that has seen Republican bills advanced to discriminate against LGBT people and women, Barber gets in these legislators faces every Monday. Last night he said:
“Pay people what they deserve, share your food with the hungry. Do this and then your nation shall be called a repairer of the breach.”
“Jesus, a brown-skin Palestinian Jew, called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken and the bruised and all those who are made to feel unaccepted.”
Now this is a church I could get behind a pew for, I might even kneel down again on these arthritic knees.
So no, we Democrats didn’t all of a sudden become patriotic, because we always were patriotic! We wear our flag on our heart, not on our sleeve. But last night, at such a historic moment, when we nominated the first woman to the highest office in the land, some of us came back to church! As my Nana would say, who was denied her first vote in 1920 because she had married an Irish immigrant, “Saints be praised!”